Success from our temporary pond: Urban Nature Project

Our new gardens will be a biologically diverse hot spot for urban nature in the heart of London. One of the main features of our gardens has been the wildlife pond, which has supported a diverse range of wildlife from moorhens, aquatic plants and an important assemblage of dragonflies and damselflies.

As part of the Urban Nature Project, we’re removing the old pond liner which was at the end of its lifespan and taking the opportunity to expand the pond area so it can be home to even more urban wildlife for years to come.

How our pond looked before we started work to enhance and improve it

In September 2022 we started this process by carefully moving as much of the pond flora and fauna as possible from our old pond into a new temporary pond in front of the Waterhouse building. The large temporary pond was created to ensure that the species living in our original pond had somewhere to live before being moved back to the new pond in spring 2023. 

We spoke to Sam Thomas (UK Biodiversity Officer) to find out more about how our pond life is faring. 

Our new temporary pond set up

It’s now been six months since the temporary pond was filled on our front lawn. We have one main pond which has silt, sediment, marginal plants, aquatic plants and fauna from our old wildlife pond. We also have two additional holding tanks filled with spare water from the old pond, which has all the beneficial micro-organisms needed for a healthy pond environment. We also have one more much smaller pond dedicated to our juvenile newt population, that we’re calling the newt spa! Adult newts are mainly terrestrial during the winter months, so they’re happily resting in a specially fenced off area of the gardens while work continues.

The newt spa!

Temporary ponds aren’t widely used for the storage and translocation of living biodiversity which makes this trial an exciting opportunity to learn more about how this method works.

We’re pleased to say that the temporary pond seems to have been a great success so far, the main pond is thriving with plenty of promising signs of a healthy balanced aquatic environment. 

Here are some of our top finds recently, that indicate our temporary pond is proving to be a very happy stop-gap home for our pond flora and fauna.  

  • Pond Olive – Cloeon dipterum – a mayfly species we spotted during some pond-dipping 
  • Great Ramshorn Snail – Planorbarius corneus – in abundance and seen grazing on algae on the side of the pond  
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly – Ischnura elegans – their larvae were plentiful during pond dipping  
  • Water Hog-louse – Asellus aquaticus – lots of these can be seen on the inside of the pond liner 

This spring we’re excited to take the next step in the process, when the new pond will be ready to receive all this valued aquatic life. Stay tuned to hear more about this.  

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